On the same day that Google Maps got a handful of nifty offline features, Google also quietly announced that it was making the popular mapping platform more appealing to third-party developers.

While businesses have been able to integrate Google Maps and many of its associated features into their own applications for a long time, the Internet giant reserves some features for its own products. Now, however, developers can access Google Maps’  predictive travel times through an API.

Using historical traffic data covering time and days, Google Maps can estimate travel times and calculate optimum routes for a future date. So when you’re searching for a route from point A to point B next Saturday at 2.45pm, Google Maps will likely serve up a different estimation than if you had stipulated next Sunday at 8am.

Real estate search website Redfin is a launch partner for the new API, and serves to demonstrate how any company that integrates Google Maps into their own services can use the function. In Redfin’s case, users can optimize their routes between homes they’ve mapped out.

Predictive travel time is open to businesses who use either the standard or premium plans within the Directions and Distance Matrix API, and for premium plan users in the JavaScript Maps API.


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